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Key congressional races to watch after primary voters sent many to runoffs

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(The Center Square) – Multiple Republican congressional candidates are heading to a runoff election May 28. Whoever wins will face strong incumbent Democratic opponents or secure Republican slots vacated by retiring members of Congress.

There are eight key congressional races to watch after primary voters moved some candidates to runoff elections. In many of the races, the border crisis was a top issue for candidates.

In the congressional district that includes the greatest number of border counties, many Republican voters are hoping to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, who has received significant support from Democrats.

In U.S. District 23, in a five-way race, Gonzales was forced into a runoff election after being censured by the Republican Party of Texas and county Republican parties. Republicans opposing him argue Gonzales has promoted open border policies and voted with Democrats on issues that contradict the party platform. Gonzales faces business owner Brandon Herrera in the runoff election. Whoever wins will face Democratic challenger Santos Limon.

In U.S. District 26, Brandon Gill defeated 10 candidates in an open race after incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess announced he was retiring after serving 21 years in Congress. Gill is the son-in-law of right-wing commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who worked with a fringe election group to produce 2,000 Mules, a movie about alleged election fraud in the 2020 election. The group has since been discredited after it told a Fulton County Superior Court judge in Georgia last month that it didn’t have any evidence to support its claims about illegal ballot stuffing during the 2020 general and runoff elections in Georgia.

Gill faces Democrat Ernest Lineberger in the runoff election.

Of the other congressional races heading to a runoff, the majority are in Democratic strongholds.

In U.S. House District 7, Republican candidates Caroline Kane and Kenneth Omoruyi, face a runoff. Whoever wins will face incumbent Lizzie Fletcher, who won her primary race. Fletcher is expected to win in November in the Democratic stronghold of Houston.

In U.S. House District 12, Republican candidates state Rep. Craig Goldman and businessman John O’Shea face a runoff. Goldman has been endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott; O’Shea by Attorney General Ken Paxton. Whoever wins will face Democrat Trey Hunt. The seat, a Republican stronghold, opened up after incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Kay Granger announced she was retiring after serving 26 years in Congress.

In U.S. District 28, in a four-way race, Republicans Jay Furman and Lazaro Garza Jr. are heading to a runoff. Whoever wins will face incumbent Henry Cuellar. Cuellar is a heavy favorite to win reelection in November in the Democratic stronghold in a border district encompassing Laredo, Cuellar’s hometown.

In U.S. District 29, Republicans Christian Garcia and Alan Garza are heading to a runoff election. Whoever wins, will face incumbent Democrat Sylvia Garcia, another heavy favorite to win reelection in the Democratic stronghold of Houston.

In the open seat of U.S. District 32, vacated by Rep. Colin Allred, who is running against Sen. Ted Cruz, Republicans David Blewett and Darrell Day are heading to a runoff election. Whoever wins will face Democrat Julie Johnson, who barely won her Democratic primary election in a 10-way race. Johnson is favored in the Democratic stronghold of Dallas.

In U.S. District 35, Republicans Michael Rodriguez and Steven Wright are heading to a runoff election. Whoever wins will face incumbent Greg Casar, who is favored to win reelection in November in a Democratic stronghold that stretches from San Antonio to Austin.

The runoff election is May 28. Early voting is from May 20-24.

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